Evelyn Waugh once enquired, of an interviewer who mentioned a certain critic to him, ‘Is he an American?’ On being told that Edmund Wilson was indeed an American, Waugh said, ‘I don’t think what they have to say is of much interest, do you?’ That was in The Paris Review in 1963. An enlightened time.
Food, Inc. casts a critical eye over how food is produced and processed in America. A handful of companies now dominate the market, apparently. It shows how those in a position to regulate farming and food production have often come from the large corporations that they are supposed to be regulating. This, naturally, begs the question whether the regulatory authorities (the FDA, etc.) are addressing customer’s concerns or simply serving the interests of the industry. Along the way, Robert Kenner argues that the way in which the market is structured has contributed significantly to the rise in obesity and diabetes; unhealthy food is cheap food. It is a substantial documentary, with strong contributions from Gary Hirshberg and Michael Pollan, and it brings an awful acronym to one’s attention: CAFO. As a practice, it is even more disgusting: Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations. Auschwitz for cattle.
For the British (or non-American) viewer, the question arises, ‘Are the points raised here applicable to my country too?’ If they are, Heaven help us – and you and yours as well, dear reader. However, no answers to the question are to be found here. And this is the problem. For a non-American audience, the documentary has very little to say that is of much relevance or fundamental interest. In this instance, as in few others alas, Waugh was right.Explore posts in the same categories: Film review comment below, or link to this permanent URL from your own site.